Nintendo Switch Chargers FAQ


What’s this Switch charger rating system you use?
I categorize potential Nintendo Switch chargers into one of five safety ratings and one of five speed ratings. My ratings are not an endorsement or review. It is a reflection of the device’s specs in comparison to known factors of charging a Switch.

To learn more about my safety ratings check out Safely Charging the Switch.

To learn more about my speed ratings check out How Switch Charging Works.

Should I only look at ★★★★★ rated charged/power banks?
That depends. If you only want to deal with Nintendo licensed accessories, then yes. If you’re open to using other third party accessories then you’ll probably be comfortable with a ★★★☆☆ or higher safety rating.

Should I only look at Superb rated chargers/power banks?
No. Pick the speed rating that meets your needs, charge habits, and budget.

  • Superb supports the dock. Do you need that capability?
  • Great is as good as Superb in handheld mode.
  • Good charges in handheld mode while playing, but slower. It is general the “best value” level, especially for power banks.
  • Good Enough extends play time in handheld mode by several hours and charges while asleep/idle. If you only recharge between play sessions it will do. You may already have a charger/power bank of this rating. Is a faster charge worth buying an upgrade?

Have you tested all of these chargers/power banks?
I have not. That would be an expensive proposition. I have tested any product which has its own review posted (see the Reviews menu above).

I check the online retail market for USB-C chargers and power banks. I’ve also followed up on chargers mentioned by other Switch owners. I go over their specs, reviews, and review analytic scores. Any with bad specs or red flags I dismiss. The rest I list. Their specs determine their Switch ratings, and I note anything special or unusual.

As new chargers/power banks come on the market I plan to maintain and expand these lists. If you know of a charger I may have missed you can contact me.

What chargers/power banks are safe to use with the Switch?
See Safely Charging the Switch.

What’s the best charger/power bank for the Switch?
There is no one best, as it depends on your needs, safety demands, other USB devices, and budget. Check out my Wall Charger Buying Guide and Power Bank Buying Guide to help narrow down what would be best for you. There is also a list of stand out chargers at the end of both guides.

What’s the best USB-C cable for the Switch?
All USB-C to USB-C cables are the same for power.

  • Use USB-IF certified cables.
  • USB 2.0/3.0/3.1 denote data transfer rates. They do not impact power transfer.
  • USB-C to USB-A cables carry less current because the USB-A power source handles less current.
  • With USB-C to USB-A cables use one with a 56k Ohm resistor or USB-IF certification.

What does USB-IF certification mean?
See Safely Charging the Switch.

What’s with the 56k Ohm resistor I’ve read about?
See Safely Charging the Switch.

Can I use X charger?
iPhone

  • Charges Switch while asleep/idle at a slow rate. It won’t extend playtime by much.

Android w/USB-C but came with a USB-A “Fast Charger”
Includes: LG G5, LG G6, LG V30, Moto G6, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S9

  • Charges Switch while asleep/idle at an okay rate. Will extend playtime by several hours.

Google Pixel 18W

  • Charges Switch under all gaming conditions.
  • Fastest charge possible in handheld mode.

Apple 12W

  • Charges Switch under most gaming conditions.
  • Only known USB-A charger to support 10W for the Switch.

Apple 29W

  • Charges Switch under all gaming conditions.
  • Fastest charge possible in handheld mode.

Apple 30W

  • Charges Switch under all gaming conditions.
  • Fastest charge possible in handheld mode.

Apple 61W

  • Charges Switch under all gaming conditions.
  • Fastest charge possible in handheld mode.

Apple 87W

How can I tell how well my charger will work with the Switch?
You can judge any USB charger you have based on its connection type and power output specs, which should be printed directly on it.

USB-A

  • 5V/≥1.5A: As good as you’ll get with USB-A. Charges Switch while asleep/idle fine, but may not charge during gameplay. Worst case will extend playtime for several hours.
  • 5V/1.0A: Charges Switch while idle at a slow rate. It won’t extend playtime by much. This is where most phone chargers fall.
  • 5V/0.5A: Only charges Switch while asleep. There is where most public and PC USB ports fall.
  • 5V/<0.5A: The Switch won’t accept a charge.

USB-C

  • 5V/3A – USB-C/USB-C PD: Charges Switch while playing under most gaming conditions.
  • 9V/≥2A – USB-C PD: Charges Switch while playing under all gaming conditions. Fastest charge possible in handheld mode.
  • 12V/≥1.5A – USB-C PD: Charges Switch while playing under all gaming conditions. Fastest charge possible in handheld mode.
  • 15V/≥1.2A – USB-C PD: Charges Switch while playing under all gaming conditions. Fastest charge possible in handheld mode.
  • 15V/≥2.6A – USB-C PD: Can power a docked Switch. Charges Switch while playing under all conditions. Fastest charge possible in handheld mode.

The Switch will use the highest available voltage with sufficient amperage.

Can I use a USB ports in a car, bus, plane, etc?
Results will vary, but more often than not you won’t be able to charge the Switch unless it is asleep.

  • Most USB ports built into vehicles or public spaces are designed for phones and offer low out.
  • If one is available that charges your Switch, great. But don’t count on it being there and outputting sufficient power. Get a power bank instead.

Can I use the Switch’s AC adapter on other USB-C devices?
Only if they support 15V power input.

  • The Switch’s included AC adapter is not to USB PD standards. It only supports two power profiles.
    • 5V/1.5A – When connected to Pro Controller or Joy-Con Charging Grip directly.
    • 15V/2.6A – When connected to the dock.
  • The 5V profile is half the amperage USB-C devices expect. This makes only the 15V profile viable.
  • Most USB-C PD power banks will take a 15V charge. Most phone and laptops will not.
  • Best to keep the Switch’s charger with the Switch’s dock full time. Get a third party USB-C charger for your needs.

Will Quick Charge/PowerIQ/etc help or harm the Switch?
No and no.

  • Those charging standards only engage when connected to a device that supports them.
  • The Switch doesn’t support any “fast charging” standards.
  • A Quick Charge charger/power bank is worth looking at if your phone supports Quick Charge.

How long will my Switch run playing X game?
Check out this Switch game battery life chart.

Can I fly with my power bank?
Yes, but know the restrictions before you pack.

  • Under FAA regulations you can fly with a 26,800mAh (technically 27,027) or smaller power bank.
  • It must be in your carry on bag. Do not bag check any devices with a lithium-ion battery.
  • You may also be able to bring a power bank up to 43,243mAh, but you need the airline’s approval.
  • You can bring multiple lithium-ion batteries which total more than these limits.

The UK follows the same guidelines as the FAA. China has a limit fo 20,000mAh and will confiscate larger power banks. Check with your airline when flying outside of the United States.

Can I use my charger internationally?
The Nintendo Switch AC adapter for all regions has the same specs, different plugs. They can work worldwide with the appropriate plug adapter.

Most third party USB chargers also work worldwide, but you should check before you pack.

Why does the dock require so much more power?
The dock requires 39W (specifically 15V/2.6A). That is more than the Switch will draw in handheld mode (18W max).

  • Up to 18W goes to the Switch, to play games and charge at the best possible rate.
  • 9.5W for the three USB ports (5V/0.5A for the two side ports, 5V/0.9A for the rear USB 3.0 port). These remain powered with the Switch removed.
  • 0.46W for the dock’s DisplayPort over USB-C to HDMI video conversion.
  • The remaining 11W covers efficiency losses, such as 15V to 5V conversion for the USB ports.
  • It doesn’t always use 39W, but it must be available for the dock to function.

Is that why I can’t just connect to a USB-C to HDMI adapter and get video on my TV?
No. That limit was set by Nintendo.

  • The Switch outputs video as DisplayPort over USB-C. The dock then transcodes that into HDMI, as most TVs have HDMI and not DisplayPost. That itself isn’t complicated.
  • Nintendo added a product verification step to the DP to HDMI process. This prevented any third party USB-C to HDMI adapter from working with the Switch. The product verification process was later cracked. Third party docks marketed for the Switch use this crack.

You can read more about the discovery and cracking of the product verification.

Can I fast charge the Joy-Cons or Pro Controller?
No.

  • My own testing shows they are hardware limited to draw 5V/0.5A (2.5W) of power, regardless of what charger or cable you use.
  • Nintendo estimates 6 hours to charge the Pro Controller (to 80% in 3 hours).
  • Pro Controller runs for 40 hours on a full charge.